Dems poised for more gerrymandering wins in congressional redistricting power play

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


Democrats are poised to post more gerrymandering wins in their continued effort to prevail over perceived GOP redistricting power, despite the party’s oft-repeated rhetoric that the practice is a Republican problem. The process has been particularly heated in this era of extreme political divide in America, with both parties vying for the upper hand in redrawing Congressional district maps occasioned by the 2020 U.S. census as November midterms loom. Both Republicans and Democrats are fiercely protecting their interests in the map-drawing phase, sometimes using litigation to challenge already-approved maps in an effort to enfeeble the power of their opponents. 

Democrats have drawn up strong maps in Illinois and New York and are positioned to veto some GOP maps and rack up victories in court challenges to Republican districts, according to reporting from Axios. The Democrats are currently projected to gain two to three seats through redistricting, taking a bit of wind out of the sails of Republicans hoping to flip dozens of House seats in the midterms. The maps are crucial in determining congressional power, not only in November, but over the next 10 years since redistricting occurs decennially. 

Maps released by Democratic lawmakers in New York could potentially wipe out half of the Big Apple’s House Republicans and give Democrats up to three more seats. Illinois’ newly enacted map resulted in two blue seat gains through the elimination of two GOP-leaning districts.  

Democrats also made notable headway in New Mexico and Oregan, drawing up favorable lines that have cleared the way for them to pick up two additional seats in those states. Republican gerrymandering efforts in key states like Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin face the threat of veto power from Democratic governors; case in point: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper used his own veto powers to successfully block GOP efforts to hold up primary elections while the state Supreme Court considers new Republican-acted maps.

Meanwhile, as Louisiana prepares to launch its own official redistricting process, Republicans can expect Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards to nix any plan that doesn’t include the addition of a second black majority district. Democrats already nabbed a crucial victory in Alabama last week when a federal judge blocked new congressional maps because they failed to include a second black majority district “or something quite close to it.” 

The GOP was dealt a significant blow last month when the Ohio Supreme Court struck down Republican-passed maps that could have given the red party as many as 13 of the state’s 15 house seats. Pennsylvania Republicans’ redistricting efforts were likewise thwarted when a Democrat-majority Pennsylvania Supreme Court took control of the state’s redistricting process that was originally expected to go to a lower, pro-Trump judge. 

“We’ve been, for years, running this comprehensive plan and really pushing to think about redistricting in this holistic way. And what you are seeing are the receipts of that strategy,” Kelly Ward Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, told Axios.

Meanwhile, Republicans still have the advantage in key states like Georgia, Florida, and Texas.

“I think it’s ironic that Democrats complain about Republican gerrymandering and then you can’t look at the map in New York State and say they’re not gerrymandered to death,” Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) told Axios., adding, “In the end, there’s so much wind at the back of Republicans it may not be fatal. But it certainly looks like gerrymandering to me.”

Katko announced his retirement last month.